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Harley’s Hope keeps people and pets together

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Harley's Hope's Shelley Roach shows off Isabella. - DARCIE NOLAN
  • Darcie Nolan
  • Harley's Hope's Shelley Roach shows off Isabella.

Our pets are our family members. But when life challenges arise — an unexpected move, an accident, medical issues — maintaining care through that time can be difficult.

After 13 years of experience with animal rescue, and her own experience losing her dog, Harley, to cancer, Cynthia Bullock wanted to do something that would help people and their pets stay together when situations get difficult. As she puts it: "We needed a safety-net agency to provide services to help keep these animals alive and in their homes, and hopefully to reduce the number of animals that become homeless each year."

Bullock founded Harley's Hope to work alongside rescues, trainers, other foundations and veterinary care providers. The nonprofit offers financial assistance, coordination, transportation and referral services on a case-by-case basis.

Harley's Hope recently helped a service dog stay with his people after he was attacked by an off-leash dog.

"He had his skull ripped open from mid-skull to his ear," Bullock says. "His people could not afford emergency treatment, so they were referred to us and we committed for half the cost of the surgery, but we also referred out because we knew of another foundation ... between the two of us the dog was put back together." This service dog is now home with his family and on the mend.

Harley's Hope also provides funds for training classes and offers temporary emergency foster care and kenneling. With the majority of shelter pets surrendered because of behavioral issues, training classes can mean the difference between keeping an animal in a home and having it surrendered. Being available for emergency kenneling means people can get on their feet without having to make the heart-breaking decision to re-home their pet in the process.

"A lot of people need temporary assistance. They don't want to give up their animal," she says. "We just fostered a dog for six weeks for a disabled vet that had to go into treatment for PTSD and didn't know what to do with their dog."

Temporary fostering and kenneling has helped people who are moving, looking for work or are in difficult living situations get that little bit of help they needed. It's trying to assist people "who do not want to euthanize for something that they know that animal can survive," she adds.

Harley's Hope is organizing to host quarterly clinics in 2017 that will provide preventive veterinary care, microchipping, spay and neuter services, and more. They will also focus on further developing their emergency kenneling services. You can find out more about the organization — and help people and their pets stay together — at harleys-hopefoundation.org.

— Darcie Nolan

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